Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Language Arts Block III: Lower Case Letters & Nature Stories

"Then the door of the cottage opened and to Lisa's surprise, all the house plants started cautiously coming down the steps, the two Miss Pelargoniums first, then plump little Mrs Myrtle, followed by grand Lady Fuchsia."

Lower case letters are introduced in either Grade 1 or Grade 2 in waldorf schools. It largely depends on the teacher and what was covered in the year/the progress of the students. Originally, I hadn't planned on "introducing" lower case letters until Sept of Grade 2, but to my amazement, the girls have picked them up organically through all the books we've read and sentences we have copied in our Main Lesson Books. So instead of doing our last LA Block on fairytales, I decided to take a page from Eric Fairman's Grade 1 book and combine lower case letters with a second Environmental Studies block using Nature Stories. We have had many, many fairytales and this is a wonderful opportunity to balance them out with more Nature Stories.

We decided to start with the lovely Elsa Beskow book, "The Flowers' Festival", in honor of spring and all the flowering plants. The book will be reviewed on Friday and is actually intended for Midsummer, so I thought it would be nice to review it early so that those who wish to get it from the library or bookstore have ample time :D

After snuggling on the couch to read the book together, we got out our lovely smelling modeling beeswax. When I visited the Steiner College Bookstore, I purchased some individual blocks by Stockmar (I think) and was impressed by how much softer they are than the Artimis brand by Mercurius. I would recommend seeking Stockmar out instead as little children get impatient waiting for them to soften. We stuck them under our arm pits and in no time we were ready and lovely flowers began to appear.

My expert modeler is Elena. She LOVES to work with her hands, always has and spends hours with Model Magic or any kind of modeling clay she can get her hands on. These are some of her flowers...


Two Tulips together...

A yellow rose...

Both girls engrossed in modeling...

And this was our final scene. Charley made the three multi-colored flowers on the left and Elena made the rest of them...we placed them on our seasonal table.

We continued with our next activity...

Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting...

Charley has a fascination with Mother Mary and has painted her on more than one occasion.

Our finished flower inspired paintings...

And little Jacky taking a snooze under his fleece baby blanket...

Still in our pajamas the next day - ah a benefit of homeschooling...

We decided to finish our PeeWee drawings for our seasonal book.

And today, we drew a spring picture from "The Flowers' Festival" in our special seasonal book that will be bound at the end of the summer.

I have chosen several stories to tell over the next couple of weeks and following Marsha Johnson's lead, I will introduce the lower case letters over the course of three days. Since the girls are already very comfortable and familiar with them, I didn't find it necessary to work as slowly as I did with the upper case letters and vowels.

Kristie Burns of Earthschooling has a lovely lower case letter alphabet book that her daughter illustrated, along the vein of the Waldorf Alphabet Book that we will also review together for fun! It is available here. I'll be using it later in this block and will talk more about it then :D

Blessings to you all!


  1. What lovely learning and creative responses, cheers Marie

  2. So much beauty here and so much inspiration, as always! My little Mara is also totally fascinated by Mother Mary and draws and models her with beeswax very often. She just made a beautiful nativity scene with beeswax the other morning!

  3. We have always celebrated the summer solstice reading The Flowers' Festival. You are working with the story in beautiful ways. I imagine your seasonal book will be wonderful, summer is such an inspirational time for nature stories and creating!
    We told a story of Mary for our 2nd grade Saints block last year, my girls sure do love her!

  4. What a lovely post...I need to get 'the Flowers Festival' book..I have some of Beskows other books and I just adore the artwork and stories! The watercolour paintings are just delightful.
    Once again, thank you for the inspiration!

  5. beautiful post indeed :) and your girls are really good working with the beeswax and painting too .

  6. Hi Jen, how fast this first year has flown! I think you have all enjoyed it tremendously. We have really enjoyed ours. Your girls created such beautiful watercolours and modelling. Enjoy your lower case block!

  7. Such pretty drawings and modeling. Elsa Beskow is one of our favorite writers/artists too!
    It looks like you are creating magic and learning in your girls' days, how nice!

  8. Hi love your blog what is "PeeWee drawings for our seasonal book" looks and sounds like a really lovely idea to have a seasonal book
    Thanks carrie

  9. LOL! PeeWee was a little tadpole we were raising so they were drawing his growth each week :) And yes - seasonal books are fabulous for kids! Have fun!